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How to Care for Plastic Sheds and Storage

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 20 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Plastic Garden Building Shed Cupboard

The main point about plastic sheds and outdoor storage cupboards is that they are cheap, certainly compared to wooden alternatives, so we shouldn’t really expect too much of them. They are not expected to be able to withstand a great deal of shock or damage but it’s unusual to be able to find spare panels or parts.

However, this doesn’t mean that they are completely un-repairable and rather than throwing one away as soon as it is broken, there are some tricks that you can try that will get a few more years life out of these constructions.

Take Care with Plastic Buildings

The first step is not to overload the cupboard or shed or expect any wall-mounted shelves to take a great deal of weight. Plastic garden buildings do not have the resistance to twisting that wood or metal garden buildings have and the weight of heavy garden tools or other objects can cause the whole construction to contort, if not break completely. This can happen slowly over time so take a look at the shed or cupboard every once in a while to make sure that it is still square.

If a panel is physically damaged, split or torn, then a repair can be sometimes be made. It’s often easier if the panel is removed to make the repair but as many plastic garden outbuildings don’t have frames, this often means complete dismantling. This of course means emptying it first, but then that’s likely to be necessary to get at the area needing repair in any case.

Test Glues Before Application

The repair method is essentially gluing the panel back together, with reinforcing material as well if necessary. The type of glue used will depend on the exact plastic used in the building’s construction so experimentation will be required. The most likely one to work is a two part epoxy glue. Buy one that says that it will work on plastics but test it on some damaged plastic before you begin.

Mix a little of the glue according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spread it on a damaged area that will need to be cut away when the real repair is done. Leave it for a couple of hours or overnight and see if it dissolves or distorts the plastic in any way. If not, then you’re in business.

Adding Reinforcement

Any hole or a split will need something that you can place against it to provide reinforcement and replace lost strength. It needs to be flat and strong but not too heavy, so thin plywood, mdf or alloy sheet will be fine. Thicker, heavier sheets of similar materials might not work so well.

Begin by taping over the area on the outside using strong gaffer or duct tape, to hold it together in roughly the right shape. Then mix up more glue and spread it over the whole of the repair area. Some glues are applied to both side of a repair and others aren't, so follow the instructions on the packet.

Then press the reinforcement to the repair area and hold it in place with clamps, if you can access both sides of the repaired section, or more tape if you can't. Once it's set, remove the tape and should be able to rebuild the shed or cupboard and use it as before.

Reality Check with Plastic Sheds and Garden Cupboards

Let’s be honest, repairing plastic sheds and outdoor cupboards isn’t really cost effective and the results sometimes won’t look great. The manufacturers and retailers would much prefer it if you threw the damaged one away and bought a new one.

But in this day and age when we can see the damage that that approach is having on the planet is slowly making itself known to us, perhaps repairing a plastic garden building is the right thing to do?

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